A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Apr 5, 2011 - History - 416 pages
46 Reviews
Bestselling author Jennet Conant brings us a stunning account of Julia and Paul Child’s experiences as members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in the Far East during World War II and the tumultuous years when they were caught up in the McCarthy Red spy hunt in the 1950s and behaved with bravery and honor. It is the fascinating portrait of a group of idealistic men and women who were recruited by the citizen spy service, slapped into uniform, and dispatched to wage political warfare in remote outposts in Ceylon, India, and China.

The eager, inexperienced 6 foot 2 inch Julia springs to life in these pages, a gangly golf-playing California girl who had never been farther abroad than Tijuana. Single and thirty years old when she joined the staff of Colonel William Donovan, Julia volunteered to be part of the OSS’s ambitious mission to develop a secret intelligence network across Southeast Asia. Her first post took her to the mountaintop idyll of Kandy, the headquarters of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, the supreme commander of combined operations. Julia reveled in the glamour and intrigue of her overseas assignment and lifealtering romance with the much older and more sophisticated Paul Child, who took her on trips into the jungle, introduced her to the joys of curry, and insisted on educating both her mind and palate. A painter drafted to build war rooms, Paul was a colorful, complex personality. Conant uses extracts from his letters in which his sharp eye and droll wit capture the day-to-day confusion, excitement, and improbability of being part of a cloak- and-dagger operation.

When Julia and Paul were transferred to Kunming, a rugged outpost at the foot of the Burma Road, they witnessed the chaotic end of the war in China and the beginnings of the Communist revolution that would shake the world. A Covert Affair chronicles their friendship with a brilliant and eccentric array of OSS agents, including Jane Foster, a wealthy, free-spirited artist, and Elizabeth MacDonald, an adventurous young reporter. In Paris after the war, Julia and Paul remained close to their intelligence colleagues as they struggled to start new lives, only to find themselves drawn into a far more terrifying spy drama. Relying on recently unclassified OSS and FBI documents, as well as previously unpublished letters and diaries, Conant vividly depicts a dangerous time in American history, when those who served their country suddenly found themselves called to account for their unpopular opinions and personal relationships.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
9
4 stars
12
3 stars
9
2 stars
8
1 star
8

Review: A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS

User Review  - Nikki - Goodreads

If I were to review this book based on the jacket information and marketing package I would give it only one star. Had the editor been honest about the focus of the story being about the OSS and US ... Read full review

Review: A Covert Affair: Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS

User Review  - Tania - Goodreads

Quite an interesting look at the OSS during WWII and the insanity of the McCarthy Red Scare hearings. But the title is misleading - Julia and Paul Child are secondary characters in this story. This is ... Read full review

Related books

Contents

Special Inquiry
1
Initiation
24
Late Start
53
A Fine Sort
74
Instant Fame
99
The Great White Queen of Bali
122
Chickens Coming Home to Roost
155
Whispers in the Willow Trees
174
Incurable Romantics
202
Open Season
230
The Nightmare
253
The Taste of Ashes
275
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Jennet Conant is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington and Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II. A former journalist, she has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Newsweek, and The New York Times. She lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

Bibliographic information